Bitcoin On Trial As Prolific Trader Faces Laundering Charges

LATIMES – March 20, 2018: Bitcoin isn’t issued by the government nor can it be deposited in a bank. So should it be subject to the same federal banking rules as traditional paper and coin currency?

It is a question that federal authorities have been grappling with ever since digital currency took off a decade ago, one that will now be heard in a San Diego courtroom with the indictment of Morgan Rockcoons. A Bitcoin prosecution has not yet been tested in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Could the Rockcoons case break any new legal ground? That is the question many are asking.

On his Twitter account, the outspoken Rockcoons characterizes the case as “the insane Federal Government hell bent on banning Bitcoin use,” and has put himself in the role of bitcoin defender.

He says that “This case will basically make Bitcoin use a crime, something I will NOT allow as CEO of Bitcoin inc,” Rockcoons told the Union-Tribune in a Twitter message when asked about the case. “It’s my fiduciary responsibility to protect all Bitcoin users, Bitcoin developers and Bitcoin companies using the Bitcoin network world wide, so I will fight these made up bogus charges all the way to the Supreme Court if I must.”

“Despite the recent surge in attention, Bitcoin remains new and novel,” said Brian Klein, a Los Angeles attorney who has become an expert in cryptocurrency law and has clients across the country. “Bitcoin has captured the imagination of a lot of people. It’s an exciting field to be involved in. There’s still a lot of new legal ground to be plowed.”

A federal magistrate judge in New York likened Bitcoin to Beanie Babies or Pokémon trading cards — a commodity that has “value exclusively to the extent that people at any given time choose privately to assign them value.”

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